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Local legislators react to State of the Union address

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014 10:10 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014 11:39 p.m. CDT

WASHINGTON – Following a speech that criticized Congress for its lack of action, reaction from local legislators fell on partisan lines.

Many of the statements came tinged with allusions to the upcoming midterm elections with many Congressional legislators facing challengers.

In a statement, U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, said he supported President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday, especially his agenda to support working families and his call to action.

“Everyone deserves a shot at the American dream – to get a good education, a job that supports a family, and a place to call home,” Foster said in the statement. “Unfortunately, for too many, that dream is becoming harder to achieve. Our country succeeds when our middle class succeeds and it is critical that our policies support working families.”

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, invited a Hoffman Estates woman who was notified she would lose her health care plan due to Obamacare as his guest to the address.

Roskam said Americans want change. “Instead of dividing up an increasingly shrinking slice of the pie, let’s join together in growing the whole economy for the benefit of all Americans,” he said.

Jim Oberweis, who is running against U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, said he found some of Obama’s comments “a little disingenuous.”

“I think that he was trying to be upbeat,” Oberweis said. “Unfortunately, he threw out a lot of things that sound wonderful, but we know the devil is always in the details.”

For example, Obama mentioned closing loopholes and wanting to help entrepreneurs that are “positive sounding and that most of us at first blush would agree with until we start looking at the details.”

U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Winfield, said he agreed with Obama that “we need to get Americans back to work” but added that “unfortunately, the president shares the mentality in Illinois and Washington to spend money we don’t have and force burdensome regulations on the businesses providing jobs to middle-class families.”

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., said in a statement following the president’s address: “Congress should put aside pointless partisan political bickering and tackle the toughest challenge our country faces, which is overspending by our federal government. The best way to do this is to embrace the Simpson-Bowles bipartisan commission report, which would cut federal spending by over $4 trillion.”

Kirk also brought up Washington, Ill., where the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied federal assistance for residents affected by a tornado that hit the area Nov. 17.

“Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and I introduced legislation to level the playing field for future federal disaster declarations. Illinois deserves equal treatment from FEMA,” Kirk said in the statement.

• Shaw Media reporter Brenda Schory contributed to this report.

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